I am loving baking breads with water roux (it is known as "tangzhong" in Mandarin) method now. Water roux bread is softer and more springy compared to breads baked with normal method. Having said that, I am still sticking to my favourite plain bun recipe but making them with water roux method. Have I confused you yet?
Water roux method is simply adding 20% to 25% of water roux starter to the recipe. Let's say the total ingredients weight of a bread recipe is 500g, the water roux starter should be between 100g to 125g. After adding water roux starter, the total weight is still 500g. Thus, a bit of calculation needed to reduce the amount of flour and water in the recipe accordingly. For these buns, I added 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and omitted bread softener and improver.
For making water roux starter, simply combine one-part of flour and five-part of water (1:5) and heat up 65C to make smooth paste. For example: 50g bread flour : 250g (1 cup) water. I have came across some recipes using 1 tbsp flour : 5 tbsp water, tried and it worked too.
Okay, here is the method for making water roux without using a thermometer.
- In a small pot, bring 2 ingredients together and whisk until well mixed.
- Heat on low heat and stir constantly. Cook until the paste is thicken and swirl pattern appears on the surface.
- Turn the heat off, cover the surface with a piece of baking paper to prevent it from drying off. Or transfer to a bowl and cover with cling wrap.
- Cool completely then chill for 4-5 hours before use. It can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days, discard if its colour has changed.
Updated on 3 April 2010: This bread stayed soft and moist the 2 next days!